Online female networks flourish to empower women with “Fenergy”
Online female networks flourish to empower women with “Fenergy”
  • Shim Su-min
  • 승인 2011.05.23 11:40
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▲ Unninetwork is having a bihon campaign, arguing choosing not to get married is a personal decision to make.
In 1991, The International Women’s Day was established to commemorate the protest the state of female laborers in America, striving for better working condition and political rights for women. A hundred years after that historical event took place, more women can now speak out with their voices and communicate with society thanks to the help of many feminism networks, including Unninetwork, which stands among the top of the feminism networking bridges in Korea, especially for the online world.
Unninetwork (meaning sisters network in Korean) provides a room for communication to young women in their 20s and 30s. It is a portal site that opened in 2000, aiming to provide a space to share personal opinions or the hardships of sexual minorities. It now has 50,000 members and they freely share  personal stories regarding sexuality, such as problems in abortion, coming out, and sex labors.
“Members share their problems in the ‘My very own salon’ category. They speak of personal experiences like sexual harassments, or inequality they had to go through just because they were women. Once they speak out and get consolation from other members, they can overcome the trauma and be more confident,” said Lee Young-lan, the manager of Unninetwork.
Among the stories in this category, ones with the best recommendations were compiled into a book called “Sister’s Room.” Another important campaign of Unninetwork is to urge public attention to single women’s issues.
“It seems like Korean society doesn’t allow women to live alone, independently. People keep asking unmarried women when they would get married. It binds women to family and makes it hard for women to stand as independent individuals,” Lee said. “Singles are called mihon in Korean which means ‘not married yet.’ We are conducting a campaign to use the term bihon, which simply means ‘not married.’ Getting married should be each person’s decision.”
▲ Members of Unninetwork actively communicate and associate through its homepage.

As students at a woman’s university realize that solidarity and communication are important in the feminism movement, a trend to build a network among each university’s feminism club has occurred. University Feminism Network is a symbolic example.
The network, which was made in 2009 to enable communication and common actions among various university feminism clubs based on online activities, already embraced 11,000 student members. Feminism communities in various universities including Metamorphosis Girls Fly to the Sky (a club working for rights of lesbians) from Ewha Womans University and Soodada (students’ feminism community) from Seoul National University have joined the larger network.
“There have been various feminism clubs in universities, but there wasn’t enough effort to build a network all together. We are trying to strengthen the feminism activities in universities by making a strong bond among members,” said Kim Han-sol, the assistant manager of the University Feminism Network.
With the efforts and available spaces provided by the feminism networks, women can now speak out with their own voices regarding sexuality matters and get ardent support from the network members.
“Still, there is sexism in this society. I had some disadvantages caused by my sex as well, and I used to think I had to bear the problems on my own. However, now that I found networks where I can share my problems, I can communicate and speak out,” An Seon-jung (Social Science, 1) said.

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